Sunday, March 25News That Matters

IndyStar 2018 NCAA tournament celebrity alumni bracket

When I first did this project eight years ago, I was single. I had plenty of time. The last time I did this project three years ago, my wife asked, “Never again.” 

So naturally, with a newborn, I told my wife, “Honey, I think I’m doing the alumni bracket again!” Her response wasn’t suitable for print.

But with folks picking their NCAA tournament brackets by color, mascot, dumb luck or actual analysis, why not pick schools based on which ones have the best celebrity alumni?

When we ran this tournament last time, Maryland rode the Larry David wave to the title. Well, the Terrapins didn’t make the cut this year. So we’ll have a new champion.

Alumni for each of the 68 schools in this year’s NCAA tournament have been researched, with the term alumni being used loosely. If there’s proof of attendance, it’ll play.

So here is this year’s IndyStar NCAA tournament celebrity alumni bracket




Tina Fey
Katie Couric
Edgar Allan Poe
Boyd Tinsley
Dylan Walsh

One of the funniest women in the industry, Fey was fantastic on “Saturday Night Live”‘s Weekend Update and NBC’s “30 Rock”, which she created. She also created “Mean Girls”, which holds personal significance to me because I proposed to my wife while she was watching it. (I wrote the book on romance.)… Couric enjoyed a 15-year run on NBC’s “Today” show, and one of her most recent noteworthy interviews provided plenty of fodder for the aforementioned Fey (see: Palin, Sarah)… Born and raised in Charlottesville, Tinsley attended UVA and was asked by Dave Matthews in 1991 to play violin for “Tripping Billies.” More than 60 million albums sold later, Tinsley remained with DMB until last month, tweeting he was taking a break from the band to focus on his family and health… At UVA to study ancient and modern languages, Poe attended the school in just its second year of existence (1826). A poet and author, Poe’s work was often steeped in mystery and darkness, like his most notable works, “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”… Known for his role as Dr. Sean McNamara on FX’s “Nip/Tuck”, Walsh also played the lead in the film adaptation of Michael Crichton’s book “Congo”. He starred alongside Mel Gibson in the Vietnam film “We Were Soldiers.”


Kathleen Turner
Duff Goldman
Brian Dannelly
Jonathan Schaech
Tony Harris

Turner earned a degree in fine arts from UMBC in 1977, the same year she made her TV debut in the NBC soap opera “The Doctors.” She’s known for her role opposite Michael Douglas in “Romancing the Stone” (1984) and “Peggy Sue Got Married” (1986). Turner also voiced Jessica Rabbit in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”… Dannelly used his UMBC visual arts degree to good effect. He directed the 2004 comedy “Saved!” starring Mandy Moore and Macaulay Culkin. He also directed a number of episodes of the Showtime series “Weeds.” … Schaech played Jimmy in “That Thing You Do!” and “Houdini” in the 1998 biopic. He also starred in “Road House 2” and Showtime’s drama “Ray Donovan.” … The “Ace of Cakes,” Duffman’s custom cake shop in Baltimore is the basis for the popular Food Network reality TV show. The show lasted 10 seasons. Duffman made the cake for President Obama’s second inauguration… Harris is a TV reporter/anchor, formerly of CNN and Al-Jazeera. 

Who wins: Despite Turner’s epic role in “Serial Mom,” we’re going Virginia.



Bob Gibson
Kyle Korver
Paul Silas
Leo Ryan
Joe Ricketts

Omaha-born, Gibson was All-State in basketball and attended Creighton on scholarship. He played for the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the St. Louis Cardinals, where he became one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. A nine-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner, Gibson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981… Ashton Kutcher with a jumper, Korver is one of the best sharpshooters in NBA history. He owns the record for best single-season percentage-wise from behind the arc (.536) and was an All-Star in 2015. He’s in his 16th NBA season and leads the NBA in 3-point percentage for the fourth time in his career… In 1963, Silas averaged 20.6 rebounds a game for the Bluejays. He won three NBA titles (two with Boston and one with Seattle) and was a two-time All-Star, scoring more than 10,000 points and grabbing 10,000 rebounds over the course of a 16-year NBA career. He’s been head coach for four NBA franchises, including a two-year run with the Cavaliers (2003-05)… Nebraska-born, Ryan was a U.S. Representative for California who traveled to Guyana to investigate Jim Jones’ cult and Jonestown. He asked friend Dan Quayle of Indiana to join him, but the future Vice President was unable. A TV news crew joined Ryan on the trip that ended with an ambush at the airport and Ryan dead on the runway… Ricketts founded TD Ameritrade and is worth more than $2 billion. He owns the Chicago Cubs, but lets his kids run the show. Under their watch in 2016, the Cubs won their first World Series since 1908.


Eric Stonestreet
Erin Brockovich
Kirstie Alley
Gene Keady
Sean Lowe

Stonestreet has won two Emmy Awards for his role as Cam on ABC sitcom “Modern Family.” A Kansas City native, he graduated from KSU with a degree in sociology in 1996… Julia Roberts made Erin Brockovich’s name famous in the 2000 film about Brockovich going from legal assistant to environmental activist… A Wichita native, Alley starred in “Cheers” and “Look Who’s Talking” before NBC gave her her own show, “Veronica’s Closet,” which had a three-season run. Her last role was in Fox’s “Scream Queens” in 2016…  Keady lettered in three sports (football, baseball, track) at Kansas State after transferring in from Garden City Junior College. He got his coaching start at a Kansas high school before moving into the junior college and then four-year college ranks. He took over the Purdue program in 1980 and led the Boilers to six Big Ten regular-season titles and two Elite Eights. A seven-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, Keady went 512-270 (.655) in 25 seasons in West Lafayette… Lowe, a former Kansas State football player, was “The Bachelor” after finishing third on “The Bachelorette” the year before. While I tell people my wife made me watch his season, in reality, I wanted to. And I was rewarded because SEAN FOUND LOVE. He fell for Catherine and the two got married and are expecting their second child. He appeared on “Dancing With The Stars” and didn’t last very long. That, I don’t watch.

Who wins: Erin Brockovich’s next environmental cause will likely be Gene Keady’s hair. We’ll look into it in Round 2. Kansas State.



Ashley Judd
Pat Riley
Frank Vogel
Glenn Kotche
John T. Scopes

A Division III point guard and starter at Juniata College in central Pennsylvania, Vogel gave up playing to transfer to Kentucky and become a student manager under Rick Pitino. He’s the Pacers’ all-time leader in NBA coaching wins, but was not retained following the 2016 season. He landed on his feet in Orlando, but the Magic have struggled going 49-100 under Vogel… The Wildcats’ Super Fan and former Mrs. Dario Franchitti, Judd is usually front and center if Kentucky’s in a big game. Truth be told, she hasn’t really done much in terms of Hollywood success in the past decade, but she’s been active humanitarian work and even been suggested for a political run… Drafted in both the NBA and NFL drafts, Riley stuck with basketball and while his playing career was for the lack of a better term, “meh.” he turned into one of the game’s top coaches. winning titles with the Showtime Lakers and the Miami Heat. He’s added two titles with the Heat as an executive, but now has to ponder life without LeBron James… Kotche, the drummer for Grammy-winning band Wilco, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Kentucky’s College of Fine Arts… Scopes was charged with teaching evolution in Tennessee, a no-no back then. The trial drew national publicity, but Scopes’ guilty verdict and $100 fine were later overturned due to a technicality…


Steph Curry
Woodrow Wilson
Patricia Cornwell
Lunsford Richardson
Tony Snow

Davidson’s all-time leading scorer, Curry was a phenomenon in college, showing the deft 3-point touch his father Dell displayed in the NBA for 16 seasons. But Curry is doing things in the league his dad never dreamed of. He won back-to-back MVP awards and led Golden State to the 2015 and 2017 NBA titles…The 28th U.S. President, Wilson is mostly associated with Princeton University, but he began his college career at Davidson in 1873. .. A popular crime novelist, Cornwell has sold more than 100 copies of her books, highlighted by the Kay Scarpetta series… Have a bad cough, get some Vicks VapoRub. Richardson invited the stuff and founded Vicks after he graduated with the highest honors from Davidson with a degree in latin. Useful… The third White House press secretary under George W. Bush, Snow was also the president’s chief speech writer.

Who wins: Ashley Judd may be the president of the UK fan club, but Woodrow Wilson was actually president. Davidson.



Geraldo Rivera
Kristen Wiig
Craig T. Nelson
Greg Kinnear
Savannah Guthrie

A “Saturday Night Live” alum, Wiig’s star rose after the success of the comedy “Bridesmaids.” She also featured in the all-female remake of “Ghostbusters” in 2016… A longtime talk show host and reporter, Rivera is still popping up on Fox News. He was great on “Celebrity Apprentice” so he’ll be an awesome 46th president… Nelson was a “Coach” for all of us. Plus, his role as Zeke on NBC’s “Parenthood” often brought my wife to tears, so I’ve got no choice… Kinnear, born in Logansport, Ind., graduated from UA with a broadcast journalism degree. He was the first host of E!’s “Talk Soup,” which he hilariously hosted from 1991-95. He was nominated for a best supporting actor role for “As Good as it Gets” in 1997. He’s played John F. Kennedy and Dick Vermeil… Guthrie graduated from Tucson cum laude with a degree in journalism. She’s been NBC’s “Today” co-anchor since 2012.


Wolf Blitzer
Harvey Weinstein
James Foley
John Walsh
Jeffrey Wigand

The son of Holocaust survivors, Blitzer was raised in Buffalo and stayed there for his undergrad work. After his distinguished work covering the Middle East, Blitzer joined CNN in 1990 and has become the face of the network… The co-founder of Miramax films, Weinstein and his brother, Bob, got their start producing rock concerts in Buffalo before getting in the movie business. Weinstein was dismissed from Miramax following accusations of sexual assault and intimidation. More than 80 women, many notable actresses, have come forward against Weinstein… An advocate for bringing fugitives to justice after his son’s murder, Walsh started “America’s Most Wanted” in 1988. In its 25 seasons, the show claims to have helped in the capture of 1,202 people… Director of “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Fear”, Foley’s main contribution has been Netflix-binge crack “House of Cards”… A whistleblower on the tobacco industry to “60 Minutes” in 1996, Wigand’s story is the subject of “The Insider”, a fantastic film starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe (Wigand). Great movie, which also features my great cousin Christopher Plummer (true story) as Mike Wallace.

Who wins: Wildcats in a walkover. Arizona.



Dwayne Johnson
Ray Liotta
Sylvester Stallone
Joseph Mascolo
Gloria Estefan

Johnson, Stallone and Liotta give us some testosterone star power on the front end. Johnson, formerly The Rock, played football for Miami, winning a national title in 1991. He turned to wrestling and became a star… and a New York Times best-selling author. He made the crossover to film and has been one of Hollywood’s leading men the past decade. They’ll be rolling him out for “The Fast and the Furious 53” in no time… Liotta, who will forever be remembered for his role as Henry Hill in “Goodfellas.”  Personal Liotta favorites of mine include 1994’s “No Escape” and “Cop Land” in 1997… Stallone attended, but never graduated from Miami, but he was awarded a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1999. He gave us “Rocky,” “Rambo,” “Cliffhanger” and “Don’t Stop or my Mom Will Shoot.” The range… If you ever stayed home sick from school, then you likely know of Stefano DiMera, the villain in NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” Mascolo played the role from 1982 to until his death with 2016, though DiMera was resurrected, so we might not have seen the last of Mascolo… The lead singer of the Miami Sound Machine, Estefan graduated from Miami in 1979 with a degree in psychology. She’s sold more than 100 million records worldwide and won three Grammy Awards.


Bob Newhart
Lori Greiner
Leslie David Baker
Jim O’Heir
Bill Rancic

A comedian and actor many millennials may not know, fewer were funnier than Newhart. This generation may know him from the Will Ferrell comedy “Elf” or his role as Professor Proton on “The Big Bang Theory.” But the “Bob Newhart Show” in the 70s and “Newhart” in the 80s were hilarious shows. Go find them on Netflix or Amazon or something… An inventor and entrepreneur, Greiner, aka the Queen of QVC, is worth roughly $50 million. A cast member on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” Greiner majored in communications at Loyola. Sticking with the business-themed reality shows, Rancic, a 1994 grad, won the first season of NBC’s reality series “The Apprentice.” You know Baker as “Stanley” from his role on “The Office.” A former special education teacher, Baker hit it big as Michael Scott’s office curmudgeon. In contrast, O’Heir played the office doofus in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” His role as underappreciated Jerry Gergich of the Pawnee Parks department is gold.  

Who wins: Loyola is sneaky good, and any other first round opponent may have been in trouble, but despite Jerry Gergich and Stanley Hudson’s greatness, they are no match for Sly and The Rock. Miami. 



Peyton Manning
Deanna Carter
Tamika Catchings
Paul Finebaum
David Keith

No. 18 will always be No. 1 around here. There’s no Lucas Oil Stadium without Manning and now there’s a statue outside to remind all of us. What’s next for Peyton? Apparently Fox and ESPN are bidding for his services… Carter I’m sure has written and recorded hundreds of other songs, but “Strawberry Wine” will always be the song I remember my sister jamming to on the way to school… Catchings was the Indiana Fever. She led the team to the 2012 WNBA title, won the 2011 WNBA MVP and won four Olympic gold medals. But her contributions went far beyond the court with herl foundation and camps for Indy’s youth. She works for Pacers Sports & Entertainment. That is when she’s not serving tea… Most people associate Finebaum with Alabama because of his Birmingham-based radio show and crazy call-in fans. But he’s actually a product of another SEC school. He’s the face of the SEC Network and an enjoyable ESPN personality… Keith played Jack Parkman in “Major League II” and also featured in the submarine flick “U-571.” He’s popped up in pretty much all the “Law and Orders” and “CSIs.”


Eddie McClintock
Brad Sherwood
Nicole Scherzinger
Robert Pollard
Vitaly Potapenko

Scherzinger led the burlesque pop group Pussycat Dolls from 2003-2009. She won Buzz Aldrin’s season of “Dancing With the Stars” and has been a judge on “The X Factor” and “The Sing Off”… McClintock has made more than 45 guest appearances on more than 25 different shows. Who could forget his role as Guy By Pool in a 2000 episode of “Sex and the City?” He’s appeared in other sitcoms like “Friends,” “Spin City” and “Just Shoot Me!” He was a regular on SyFy’s “Warehouse 13,” which had a 64-episode run. An actor/comedian, Sherwood was a regular on the improv comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and often pops up on VH-1 shows “I Love the 70s,” “I Love The 80s,” “I Love the 90s,” you get the idea… Pollard is the founder, lead singer and only omnipresent member of Guided By Voices, a Dayton, Ohio indie rock band, which broke up a few times and has made up a few times… Potapenko spent a decade in the NBA after Cleveland drafted him No. 12 overall out of Wright State in 1996. He averaged 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds a game, starting 189 of 610 games played. He spent the 2010-11 season as an assistant coach for the Pacers. 

Who wins: Wright State gave me fits. Rocky Top all day. Tennessee.



Colin Kaepernick
Gabriel Damon
Charley Douglas
Ron Toomer
Mills Lane

Drafted to play baseball by the Cubs, Kaepernick chose Nevada and football and set records for the Wolfpack. He filled in for an injured Alex Smith in 2012 and led the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994. He struggled to keep hold of the starter’s job the next few seasons and begun taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. He started a near-league-wide phenomenon, which has crossed into other sports nationwide. He went unsigned as a free agent after the 2016 season and hasn’t played in the NFL since… Damon was a commercial child actor and appeared in “RoboCop 2” and “Newsies.” He voiced Littlefoot in the first “Land Before Time” and Little Nemo in a 1989 Japanese animated fantasy flick. So no, not as interesting as the fish. Douglas was a sound engineer for CBS Radio and eventually served in the Navy developing radar systems during World War II. He’s credited with creating the first laugh track. So, fans of “Friends,” he’s your MVP. Toomer used his mechanical engineering degree to build the world’s first upside down roller-coaster in 1974. How’s this for irony? The man who creates close to 100 roller coasters around the world suffers from motion sickness. He was also part of the design team of the Apollo spacecraft heat shield… “Let’s get it on!” Lane started each bout he refereed with his catchphrase, that eventually earned him a TV courtroom show. He was in the ring for the infamous “Bite Fight” between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield in 1997. Lane’s legacy will last forever thanks to MTV’s “Celebrity Death Match.”


Matthew McConaughey

Wes Anderson

Owen Wilson

Farrah Fawcett

Richard Linklater

Alright, alright, alright. McConaughey graduated from UT in 1993 and can often be spotted on the sidelines of big Longhorns games. He met Linklater while in Austin and got his big break when Linklater cast him as David Wooderson in “Dazed and Confused”. McConaughey won the 2013 best actor Oscar for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club”, while Linklater was nominated this year for best director for the 12-year project “Boyhood”…A quirky filmmaker, Anderson has created such popular movies as “Rushmore”, “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, which earned him an Oscar nomination. While at Texas, Anderson befriended Wilson, who has starred in a number of Anderson’s films, including his first, “Bottle Rocket”, which became an underground hit and launched their careers. Whether it’s in “Zoolander”, “Wedding Crashers” or “Meet the Parents”, Wilson has done a good job making us laugh during the 2000s… I’m a little young to have had Fawcett’s poster hanging in my bedroom, but an entire generation of men before me did. The star of “Charlie’s Angels”, Fawcett got her start in modeling after she was named among the campus’ 10 most beautiful coeds. The rest as they say, is history.

Who wins: Alright, alright, alright. Horns roll. Texas.



Oscar Robertson
George Clooney
Sandy Koufax
Urban Meyer
Joseph Strauss

The Big O starred at Cincinnati after leading Indy’s Crispus Attucks to become the first all-black team to win a high school state title in the country in 1955. The king of the triple-double, Robertson was a 12-time NBA All-Star and is a no-brainer for the top basketball players of all-time… Clooney briefly attended UC after attending Northern Kentucky (1979-81), but did not graduate from either. He got his big break with NBC’s hospital drama “ER” and has gone on to an Award-winning film career”… Koufax, a Brooklyn native, walked-on to UC’s freshman basketball team and in 1954 made the baseball team, striking out 51 batters in 31 innings. He returned east, tried out for a few teams, and was eventually signed by his hometown Dodgers. Koufax went on to become one of the most dominant pitchers in Major League Baseball history, winning three Cy Young Awards and two World Series MVPs… Already with three national championships to his credit, Meyer is staking claim as the best coach in the business. He played cornerback for the Bearcats while getting his degree in psychology and is building a dynasty at Ohio State… Strauss designed San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge.


Julia Roberts
Douglas Edwards
Coy Bowles
William Duvall

The star of “Pretty Woman”, Roberts was born and raised in suburban Atlanta and attended Georgia State but never graduated. She’s one of the most successful and recognizable actresses in the world, and has one Oscar to her credit for her role as “Erin Brockovich”… Ludacris, aka Chris Bridges, is a chart-topping rapper who studied music management at GSU in the late 90s. In addition to rapping, Ludacris has also appeared in a number of films, including a recurring role in “The Fast and Furious” series. What are they on, No. 73?… Edwards was America’s first network news anchor, guiding CBS’ nightly news broadcast from 1948-62. He was replaced by Walter Cronkite and the newscast changed its name to the now familiar “CBS Evening News”… Bowles, a guitarist and keyboardist in the Zac Brown Band…The lead singer for rock group Alice in Chains, Duvall assumed the role after the band’s original lead singer, Layne Staley died in 2002. Alice in Chains has released two albums with Duvall on lead vocals, and their 2013 album “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

Who wins: It was a close call, but we went with Danny Ocean instead of Tess. Cincinnati.

► Second Round

Virginia vs. Kansas State: “30 Rock” > “Modern Family.” Virginia. 

Davidson vs. Arizona: Wildcats empty the vault, get coached to a win. Arizona.

Miami vs. Tennessee: Sorry, Peyton. Miami.

Texas vs. Cincinnati: Bearcats left “Dazed and Confused.” Texas.

Sweet 16

Virginia vs. Arizona: Always the bridesmaid never the bride? Not this time. Arizona.

Miami vs. Texas: This one is no “Cliffhanger.” Miami.

Elite Eight

Miami vs. Arizona: Despite how bad “Rocky V” was, the Hurricanes keep advancing. Miami.




John Leguizamo
Jackee Harry
Dina Meyer
Larry Doby
Nicholas Pileggi

We’ll also pull from LIU-Post, the other main campus of the LIU system. Hard to imagine one’s career getting any better than playing Luigi in “Super Mario Bros.” but Lequizamo has had quite the run. He’s starred in “Carlito’s Way” “Romeo + Juliet” and “Crash.” He recently appeared in Paramount Network’s miniseries “Waco.”… Jackee played Sandra in the 1980s sitcom “227” and Lisa in the WB comedy series “Sister, Sister.” She also featured alongside Rodney Dangerfield in the classic soccer flick “Ladybugs.” Meyer is best known for her role in “Starship Troopers” but also had starring roles in the “Saw” horror film series and “Star Trek: Nemesis.” Doby attended LIU on a basketball scholarship but signed to play baseball with the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League three months into his LIU stint. He joined the navy during World War II and returned to baseball after the war. He was the second African-American player to reach Major League Baseball, and the first to join from the Negro League. A center fielder for Cleveland, Doby went to seven straight All-Star games and finished second in the AL MVP vote in 1954 after leading the league with 32 home runs and 126 RBIs. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998… A former journalist with the AP and New Yorker Magazine, Pileggi wrote the non-fiction books that were the basis for iconic mob movies “Goodfellas” and “Casino.”


Frank Beamer
Marty Smith
Jayma Mays
Barry Ratcliffe
Dave Mattingly

Beamer served as Virginia Tech’s football coach from 1987 to 2015, lifting the Hokies program to national prominence. He won 238 games in Blacksburg and reached 23 straight bowl games, the longest streak in the country. He won three Big East titles and four ACC titles and was conference coach of the year three times. Smith joined ESPN primarily as a NASCAR reporter in 2006 and has since grown his role at the network to include college football and has his own interview show SportsCenter Presents: Marty Smith’s America. Mays, who transferred to Radford from Virginia Tech, is an actress best-known for her role as Emma Pillsbury on “Glee.” She’s currently in NBC sitcom “Trial & Error” with John Lithgow. A comedian/actor, Ratcliffe appeared regularly on “Nash Bridges” alongside Don Johnson and Cheech Marin. He’s appeared in “Nip Tuck,” “Nashville” and “White Collar.” He’s currently plays Don Foushee on WGN’s “Outsiders” drama. Mattingly is a producer and anchor for NPR’s “Morning Edition.” He was producing the station’s newscast during Sept. 11, 2001, which earned NPR a Peabody Award.

Who wins: For no other reason than “Ladybugs.” LIU-Brooklyn.



Toby Keith
Jim Croce
Howie Long
Maria Bello
Tim Donaghy

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Keith attended Villanova from 1979-1980 in hopes of becoming a petroleum engineer. He returned to Oklahoma and suited up for the Sooners’ football team, but never actually played. One of country music’s most successful artists, Keith has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and received a honorary degree from ‘Nova… While Keith had 20 No. 1 hits on the country music charts, Croce provided two songs that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (“Time in a Bottle” and “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”)… The King of the Flat Top, Long played 13 years for the Raiders in his Hall of Fame career before transitioning to TV as part of Fox’s “NFL Sunday” crew. He’s also tried his hand in acting with roles in “Broken Arrow” and “Firestorm”… A political science major at Villanova, Bello moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. She was nominated for a best actress Golden Globe for her work in 2005’s “A History of Violence” and played Kevin James’ wife in “Grown Ups” and “Grown Ups 2”. She appeared in the Amazon series “Goliath” opposite Billy Bob Thornton and is currently a regular on CBS drama “NCIS.”… Donaghy played baseball at Villanova and refereed Pennsylvania high school basketball and CBA games before becoming an NBA official in 1994. He referred 772 regular season games, including the Malice in the Palace in 2004 between the Pacers and Pistons. He resigned in 2007 and pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from an FBI gambling investigation. He was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.

Who wins: Tim Donaghy’s crimes wouldn’t have even made a footnote in “Goodfellas” or “Casino.” Upset alert, Cinderella moves on. LIU-Brooklyn.



Hoda Kotb
Jaxson de Ville
Bruce Arians
Bruce Smith
Ken Pomeroy

The newest full-time co-anchor on NBC’s “Today,” Kotb takes over for Matt Lauer, who was fired following inappropriate sexual behavior. She earned a degree in broadcast journalism in 1986 and delivered the keynote speech at the school’s 2008 graduation. She and Kathie Lee Gifford often have a bit too much fun in the fourth hour of “Today.” … Arians is a Colts fan favorite, having helped a young Peyton Manning early in his coaching career and then returning to Indy as Andrew Luck’s offensive coordinator. Arians filled in more than capably for Chuck Pagano, while the Colts head coach was fighting leukemia. It earned him a head gig of his own in Arizona, where the coached the past five years before retiring after this past season… Pomeroy, or KenPom, is the new RPI, and no March Madness story would be complete with out his mention. When Pomeroy isn’t devising new analytics for basketball coaches and fans to consume, he’s teaching atmospheric sciences at the University of Utah… The original Jaguars mascot Jaxson de Ville, Curtis Dvorak began his career as Virginia Tech’s Hokie. In most seasons Jaxson de Ville’s antics are much more interesting than the on-field product. He retired in 2015… Smith holds the NFL record for career sacks with 200 and the former Buffalo Bills star still gives QBs nightmares. He was a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Fame selection and was a big reason the Bills reached four straight Super Bowls.


Joe Namath
Jim Nabors
Harper Lee
Sela Ward
Forrest Gump

Namath quarterbacked the Crimson Tide to the 1964 national championship before heading to NYC to become “Broadway Joe.” A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he backed up his Super Bowl III guarantee with an MVP performance leading the Jets past the Baltimore Colts. And yes, the man likes coats… Known for his role Gomer Pyle in “The Andy Griffith Show,” Nabors holds a special place in Hoosiers’ hearts for singing “Back Home Again In Indiana” at the Indianapolis 500 from 1974 to 2010, and one last time in 2014… Lee won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for “To Kill A Mockingbird,” which I still haven’t read… Ward was homecoming queen and a Crimson Tide cheerleader while double majoring in fine art and advertising. She played Harrison Ford’s wife in “The Fugitive” and President in the latest “Independence Day” film… “Run, Forrest, Run.” All the way to a football  scholarship to Alabama and a spot on the All-American team with all the free Dr. Pepper you could drink.

Who wins: I didn’t have to resort to a mascot or analytics nerd. Alabama. 



Pat McAfee
Steve Harvey
Jerry West
Don Knotts
Cheryl Hines

McAfee was a fan favorite in Indianapolis, despite the fact that he’s the PUNTER! His work in the community and on social media with fans (and free agents) is unparalleled. Oh yeah, and he’s a Pro Bowler. I mean, we liked him so much, we gave him a show!… Jerry West is the NBA logo. What else do you need to know?… The role of Larry David’s wife isn’t an easy one, but Hines nailed it. She starred opposite the neurotic comic in HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, a role which earned her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She also attended Florida State and Central Florida Universities… Another Walk of Famer, Knotts was born in Morgantown and returned to WVU after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. The perfect TV goof ball, his roles as Barney Fife (“The Andy Griffith Show”) and Ralph Furley (“Three’s Company”) landed him at 27th on TV Guide’s list of “TV Stars of All-Time”… Harvey and Ferrell, both born in West Virginia, attended the state’s largest school, but also went elsewhere. Ferrell been acting since 1974, but we all know her as the housekeeper, Berta, on “Two and a Half Men”. Harvey was among “The Original Kings of Comedy”, had his own long-running sitcom and now hosts “Family Feud”.


W. Earl Brown
Popeye Jones
Chrishell Stause
Chris Thile
Jude Deveraux

Having the internet rumor Jim Varney attended Murray State debunked by his family hurts the Racers’ case. With Ernest in tow, Murray State could have been a first-round upset candidate. Brown is best known for his role as Al Swearengen’s right-hand man Dan Dority in HBO’s “Deadwood.” You may also know him as Mary’s brother Warren in “Something About Mary.” A soap opera actress, Stause played Amanda Dillon on “All My Children” and Jordan Ridgeway on “Days of Our Lives.” She also featured on “The Young and the Restless.” Thile was party of the bluegrass acoustic trio Nickel Creek and became host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” a radio variety show that ran from 1974 to 2016 before being renamed “Live From Here.” Deveraux has written more than 40 romance novels that reached the New York Times’ Best Seller list. Her romantic stories range from post-Revolutionary America to time travel. Love knows no bounds.

Who wins: I’m going to ask a second time just in case Steve Harvey has the envelope. Who wins: West Virginia.



Bill Parcells
Dan and Frank Carney (founders of Pizza Hut)
Joe Carter
The Big Show
Gary Burrell

After transferring from Colgate, Parcells played linebacker for Wichita State, earning a degree in physical education. He was drafted but never played in the NFL. A two-time Super Bowl winning coach, Parcells was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013… I’m not much of a Pizza Hut guy, but original founders Dan and Frank Carney attended WSU. Heck, even Frank jumped ship for Papa John’s… The Sporting News’ College Player of the Year in 1981, Carter went No. 2 overall in the draft to the Cubs. He played with six MLB teams, most notably for the Blue Jays, where he’s remembered for his Game 6 World Series-winning walk-off home run against the Phillies in 1993… Real name Paul Wight, The Big Show was a member of the Wichita State basketball team in the early 90s, but ended up transferring to Northern Oklahoma where he was all-conference. The 7-foot-1 giant is one of the WWE’s most recognizable champions of the past 20 years… Burrell, the founder of global positioning system Garmin, got an electrical engineering degree from Wichita State, and is worth an estimated $1.67 billion.


Randy Moss
Billy Crystal
Conchata Farrell
Mark D’Antoni
Brad Dourif

A member of Pro Football Hall of Fame’s most-recent induction class, Moss was a receiving revelation. His path to Marshall was a bit circuitous, but once he returned home to West Virginia, he rewrote the record books. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1997. Character concerns dropped him to No. 21 in the draft to Minnesota, where he thrived as a game-breaker. He holds the NFL single-season touchdown reception record (23 with New England in 2007) and is second on the all-time regular season TD reception list with 156… Manhattan-born Crystal attended Marshall on a baseball scholarship in 1965, but never played for the Thundering Herd because the team was suspended during his only year on campus. He left West Virginia to head back to New York and began his comedy career. He’s hosted the Oscars nine times and starred in classic comedies “City Slickers” and “When Harry Met Sally.” … Farrell began her college career at West Virginia, but finished a degree in history from Marshall, where she made her first on-stage performance in 1969. She’s been acting since 1974, but is best known for her role as Charlie’s housekeeper Berta in “Two and a Half Men.” … Huntington-born, Dourif attended Marshall before quitting school after Farrell talked him into an acting career. He was nominated for an Oscar for voicing Chucky in “Child’s Play” in 1988. He won a Golden Globe for his role as Billy Bibbit in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” I’m rewatching “Deadwood,” so to me, he’s Doc Cochran… D’Antoni won the 2005 NBA Coach of the Year for his turnaround job with Phoenix. He’s bounced around since, coaching the Lakers and Knicks since, but now is in charge of Houston, which boasts the NBA’s best record.

Who wins: Headline – “‘City Slickers’ star leads Herd to Round 2.’ Marshall. 



Bob Lanier
Ted Marchibroda
Neil Cavuto
Chuck Daly
Adrian Wojnarowski

A three-time All-American, Lanier led St. Bonaventure to the 1970 Final Four and was the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992… Marchibroda played QB for the Bonnies, in fact, he was the final QB to ever play for the school, which cut football in 1951. He has the rare distinction as being the head coach for the Baltimore Colts (1975-79) and Indianapolis Colts (1992-95) in two different stints.  He posted a 30-34 record in Indianapolis and led the Colts to the memorable 1995 AFC Championship Game in his final season… Wojnarowski, or simply Woj, is the don of NBA news breakers. ESPN got tired of watching of the 1991 St. Bonaventure graduate scoop their guys, and hired Woj from Yahoo! this past year… A 1980 graduate, Cavuto hosts three shows on Fox News/Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal called named him the best interviewer in business news four straight years… Daly spent one year at St. Bonaventure before transferring to Bloomsburg. He made his name coaching the Detroit Pistons’ Bad Boys teams, culminating with back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990. He was also head coach for the first Dream Team, winning gold in Barcelona. 


James Dean
Ben Stiller
James Franco
Tim Robbins
Jaleel White

We can call this squad “Team Hollywood”, which you’d expect from a school based in L.A. And like you’d expect with most actors, a lot of them didn’t finish college. Stiller lasted nine months as a UCLA film student before returning to New York, the Indiana-born Dean was enrolled at the school for a semester before dropping out and Franco, who would later play Dean in a biopic, left school after just one year… Robbins actually graduated from UCLA’s Film School and starred in two of my all-time favorite films, “Bull Durham” and “Shawshank Redemption”. He won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role in 2003’s “Mystic River”… Another graduate, White is relevant for one reason, and one reason only: he played Steve Urkel in “Family Matters”. Game over.

Who wins: A few Woj bombs doesn’t deter the Bruins. UCLA.



Tim Tebow
Erin Andrews
Gregg Doyel
Stephen Root
Robin Weisman

Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and an NFL playoff game, but folks knew he wasn’t a long-term solution under center. So, he’s giving baseball a try, and after spending a year in the minors for the Mets, he’s in spring training with a chance to earn a spot… A member of Florida’s dance team, the Dazzlers, Andrews now co-hosts “Dancing With the Stars.” That, of course, is in addition to her sideline role with Fox… Doyel is an award-winning sports columnist for IndyStar and is probably tweeting about walking dogs right now… Root is an actor/comedian I remember most for his role as Milton Waddams in “Office Space.” Always put your name on your stapler. He was also great in “NewsRadio” – which was actually a pretty funny show… Weisman is the little lady in “Three Men and a Little Lady” — the classic 1990 comedy with Ted Danson, Steve Guttenburg and Tom Selleck. She also featured in TNT’s “Thunder in Paradise” with Hulk Hogan that I totally remember watching.

Who wins: Tebow is big on redemption, but the Gators star gets Shawshanked. UCLA.



John Denver
G.W. Bailey
Brad Leland
Scott Pelley
George Eads

Denver, wo studied architecture at Texas Tech, recorded roughly 300 songs and sold more than 33 million albums worldwide during his career. He’s one of the most iconic folk/country singers of our time, with hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” “Rocki Mountain High” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”… Eads is best known for his role as Nick Stokes on CBS drama “CSI.” He appeared on 323 episodes from 2000-15. He was most recently on the “MacGyver” reboot… Bailey is known for his role as Captain Harris from the “Police Academy” movies. He also featured in “M*A*S*H” and “Mannequin” for you 80s fans out there. More recently, he appeared opposite Kyra Sedwick in TNT’s drama “The Closer.” … Leland featured in both “Friday Night Lights” the movie and the TV show. In the NBC drama, Leland starred as Buddy Garrity, Dillon’s biggest booster… Pelley is a TV news anchor/reporter, who was on “60 Minutes” for from 2011-17 and anchored the “CBS Evening News.” 


Will Jennings
Don Henley
Bum Phillips
Jeremiah Trotter
Joseph W. Kennedy

A member of the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, Jennings provided many slow dances with the “Titanic” theme song “My Heart Will Go On”. My personal Jennings favorites are Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” and Eric Claption’s “Tears in Heaven”. Absolute classics… Jennings never wrote a song for The Eagles, but they did just fine without him. Henley, the drummer and co-vocalist for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, was ranked the 87th greatest singer of all-time by Rolling Stone. He also attended North Texas University… After serving as a marine in World War II, Phillips returned to his native Texas to play football at Stephen F. Austin. He had a lengthy coaching career, which included an 86-80 stint as an NFL head coach with the Oilers and Saints. His son, Wade, succeeded him in coaching… Trotter played 12 NFL seasons, which included three separate stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, and was named to four Pro Bowls between 2000-05… Born and raised in Nagadoches, Texas, Kennedy earned his bachelor’s degree from his hometown school before graduate work at Kansas and Cal-Berkeley. One of the nation’s premier chemists, he co-discovered plutonium and worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II.

Who wins: Despite what Lloyd and Harry think of John Denver, Texas Tech.



Jerry Jones
Jimmy Johnson
John Daly
S. Rob Walton
Pat Summerall

It’s a little more sports heavy than we’d like, but we doubt J. William Fulbright would do it for you. Jones, the Cowboys owner/general manager/sideline hype guy/coach?, was a co-captain and offensive lineman on the Razorbacks’ 1964 national title team and is worth an estimated $4.2 billion… A teammate of Jones’ at Arkansas, Johnson won his college pal two Super Bowls (1992-93) and restored the Cowboys’ luster… More of a sideshow now, Daly sprung to prominence after winning the 1991 PGA Championship right here at Crooked Stick. He has a British Open trophy on his mantle as well, though his closet is full of zubaz pants meets grandma’s basement couch… One of many in a long line of Razorback Waltons, Rob, the eldest son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, is the current chairman and worth about $41.7 billion, the 17th-richest person in the world… Summerall’s voice was familiar to generations of sports fans and he and John Madden lasted 22 seasons in the broadcast booth.


Gordon Hayward
Ed Carpenter
Jim Jones
Karen Pence
Bobby Plump

Hayward brought the Bulldogs inches to within winning the national title in 2010. He turned himself into an NBA rising star in Utah before joining up with his former Butler coach Brad Stevens in Boston this past summer in free agency. Hayward suffered a season-ending injury in the Celtics’ season opener this season… Plump’s Last Shot is more than a watering hole in Broad Ripple, it’s the iconic moment of the Milan Miracle and the inspiration for “Hoosiers”. After his 1954 state title winning exploits, Plump went on to star at Butler and played briefly professionally before going into insurance… Winner of back-to-back Indy 500 poles, Carpenter is still searching for his first IndyCar win at his hometown track. Carpenter, who owns his own racing team and doesn’t race a complete schedule himself, has three series driving wins to his credit… An infamous cult leader, Jones was responsible for the mass suicide of 909 people via cyanide poisoning at Jonestown, Guyana in 1978. He got his degree from Butler in secondary education by attending night school. Pence, the current Second Lady of the United States, has a bachelor’s and Master’s degree in education from Butler. She taught at Indianapolis elementary schools.

Who wins: We’ll go local, at least for one round. Butler.



Neil Armstrong
Orville Redenbacher
Chelsey Sullenberger
Jim Gaffigan
Drew Brees

The first man to walk on the moon, Armstrong is pretty much that guy at the party that can one up you every time… At Purdue, Redenbacher competed in track, performed in marching band and graduated with a degree in agronomy. He developed his famous popcorn in Valparaiso, which still hosts an annual popcorn festival in Redenbacher’s honor… r span as a coach with the Bruins, giving birth to the Wizard of Westwood legend… In 2001, Brees led Purdue to its last Rose Bowl appearance and shattered all sorts of school and Big Ten passing records. Despite concerns about his stature, Brees has developed into one of the NFL’s premier passers. He’s led the league in passing yardage seven times, has made 11 Pro Bowls, and as you recall, defeated the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV… An Air-Force grad, Sullenberger got a Master’s in Industrial Psychology from Purdue. He is known for piloting a 2009 US Airways flight to a successful water landing in the Hudson River… A Chesterton, Ind. native, Gaffigan attended Purdue for a year before transferring to Georgetown. He walked on to the Boilers football team. “I have so many fond memories from Purdue,” Gaffigan told a Purdue crowd in 2007. “Most seem to involve walking. I walked onto the football team and walked away after I didn’t like getting my head bashed in. I remember walking to some classes that were, for some reason, at 7 a.m., walking to Hardee’s at 11:30 at night, finally buying a bike, and then walking after it fell apart after two days. Go Boilers.”


Kevin Costner
Gwen Stefani
James Cameron
Bruce Bowen
Cedric Ceballos

A Fullerton native, Stefani hit it big with No Doubt’s debut album “Tragic Kingdom” in 1995 as the band became an instant success. She went on her own for a bit and tried her hand in a few things before returning to the band in 2009. She was a judge on NBC’s “The Voice,” which is pretty much on every night… Costner is basically the only general manager that can turn the Cleveland Browns around… Cameron, who directed “Titanic,” “Terminator” and “Avatar,” studied physics at Fullerton in 1973… A defensive specialist, Bowen won three NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs and was first team All-Defense five times. He’s currently an analyst for ESPN… Ceballos played 14 seasons in the NBA, won the Dunk Contest in 1992 and was an All-Star in 1995. He paired up with Shawn Marion on this past season’s “Amazing Race” on CBS. 

Who wins: Neil Armstrong may have been to the moon, but Fullerton has the star power. Cal State Fullerton.

► Second Round

LIU-Brooklyn vs. Alabama: Broadway Joe has too much style for Brooklyn. Alabama.

West Virginia vs. Marshall: McAfee gives Thundering Herd the boot. West Virginia.

UCLA vs. Texas Tech: “Police Academy” actors can only get you so far. UCLA.

Butler vs. Cal State Fullerton: “Bull Durham” or Bulldogs? Sorry, Blue. Cal State Fullerton.

► Sweet 16

Alabama vs. West Virginia: It’s time to use The Logo as the trump card. Jerry West Virginia.

UCLA vs. Cal State Fullerton: This is where “Avatar” catches up to Fullerton. UCLA.

► Elite Eight

UCLA vs. West Virginia: Don Knotts is cool, but we’ll give the edge to James Dean. It’s close though. UCLA.


KANSAS (1) VS. PENN (16)


Wilt Chamberlain
Paul Rudd
Don Johnson
Rob Riggle
Mandy Patinkin

One of the greatest basketball players of all-time, Chamberlain was a 4-time NBA MVP and led the NBA in scoring for seven straight seasons (1960-66). Oh yeah, he also led the league in rebounding 11 times… Crockett on “Miami Vice”, Johnson owned the late 80s. I was a toddler then, so I know him as Kenny Powers’ dad in “Eastbound and Down”… Part of the Judd Apatow Machine, Rudd has starred in comedies such as “Anchorman”, “The 40-Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.” Riggle graduated from Kansas with a theater degree — and then naturally joined the Marines. He got his big break in comedy with his appearances on “The Daily Show” and has popped up in comedies like “The Hangover,” “Stepbrothers” and “Talladega Nights.” He hosted the 2012 ESPY’s and picks games weekly on Fox’s NFL Sunday pregame show… Patinkin plays Saul on Showtime’s “Homeland” but he’ll forever be Inigo Montoya.


Donald Trump
Elon Musk
John Legend
Elizabeth Banks
Maury Povich

After starting college at Fordham University, Trump transferred to Penn’s prestigious Wharton School of Business, where he learned some tricks to the real estate trade. He inherited an empire and turned his family name into a brand. After years hosting his reality TV show “The Apprentice,” Trump decided to run for president and to pretty much everyone’s dismay won… Musk got a degree in physics and economics from Penn and has put them both to good use in business and science. I mean, the Tesla CEO just sent cars into space. He’s looking to Mars next… Legend began attending Penn at 16 years old. He served as the school’s musical director of a pop a cappella group. After years of collaborating with artists, Legend hit it big solo in 2013 with “All of Me,” which hit No. 1. He won an Oscar for the theme song for “Selma” in 2015… Banks, who graduated magna cum laude with a degree in communications in 1996, is best known for her roles in “40-Year-Old Virgin” and as Effie in “The Hunger Games.”  … “You are not the father!” Those five words are pretty much the key to Povich’s career these days. A 1962 Penn grad, Povich’s talk show has morphed into Jerry Springer light. And it always seems to be on in the newsroom in the background before folks can change the channel after the local news is through.

Who wins: A really tough early-round matchup, but it comes down to the Dons and Penn trumps Kansas. Penn.



Bob Ley
Dule Hill
Dick Vitale
Max Weinberg
Chuck Connors

An ESPN stalwart and New Jersey native, Ley, graduated magna cum laude with a degree in communications. He’s been with ESPN since 1979 — three days after the network launched. A former “SportsCenter” host, Ley anchors the channel’s more in-depth issues show “Outside The Lines”… Connors played on Seton Hall’s baseball and basketball teams and is one of just 12 athletes to play in both MLB and NBA. He had a 40-year film and TV acting career, highlighted by playing the lead in series “The Rifleman” from 1958-63… In ’63, Vitale was finishing up his business administration degree from Seton Hall and took his first coaching job at New Jersey’s Garfield High School. He had a successful four-year run at Detroit-Mercy, leading the Titans to the Sweet 16 in 1977 and coached the Pistons for a year and 12 games (he was fired in 1979 after a 4-8 start to the season). He went into broadcasting and his enthusiasm is credited with helping grow college basketball. In 2008, he was inducted into both the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame… I know Max Weinberg from his role as Conan O’Brien’s drummer on late night TV. But most everyone else associates him with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band… Hill played Charlie Young on NBC’s “West Wing” and starred in USA Network’s “Psych.” You may also know him as the Dolphins GM in HBO’s “Ballers.”


Bill Cowher
Zach Galifianakis
Philip Rivers
John Tesh
Spud Webb

A linebacker and team MVP his senior year for the Wolfpack, Cowher was mostly a special teams player during his five-year NFL playing career. As a coach, Cowher led the Steelers to the Super Bowl title in 1995 and he retired with a 161-99-1 coaching record before joining CBS’ football coverage… A Wilkesboro, N.C. native, Galifianakis attended, but didn’t graduate from NC State. A comedian with bit roles early in his career, he gained fame for his role as Alan in “The Hangover” trilogy… A five-time Pro Bowl QB and agitator to Colts fans, Rivers has thrown for more 36,000 yards and 252 touchdowns in 11 NFL seasons… A former co-host of “Entertainment Tonight” and sportscaster, Tesh is also an accomplished pianist, who’s greatest achievement was providing us “Roundball Rock,” better known as the NBA on NBC theme song in the 90s… At 5-6, Webb is a hero to all vertically-challenged folk after winning the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. He spent 12 seasons in the NBA, seven with Atlanta.

Who wins: For all fellow 5-foot-nothings out there, this one is for Spud. N.C. State.



Nancy O’Dell
James Michael Tyler
Dale Davis
Dolph Lundgren
Nikki Haley

Miss South Carolina in 1987, O’Dell graduated summa cum laude from Clemson in 1990 before embarking on a broadcast TV career. She hosted “Access Hollywood” from1996-2009 and has been the host of my mom’s favorite show “Entertainment Tonight” since 2011… Fans of “Friends” know Tyler as coffee shop worker Gunther. Over a 10-year run, Tyler appeared in 148 of 236 episodes, making him the show’s most-frequent guest star… Folks around here have a soft spot for Davis, who is fifth all-time in minutes played for the Pacers. Davis holds the franchise record for career field goal percentage (.543) and only Mel Daniels has more career rebounds as a Pacer than Davis… Apparently a genius, Lundgren studied chemical engineering at a number of schools, including Washington State and Clemson. He could figure out the meaning of life, but he’ll always be Ivan Drago from “Rocky IV” — which to this day has the best film soundtrack ever. He gave us He-Man in “Masters of the Universe” and Frank Castle in 1989-version of “The Punisher,” but after that it was pretty much straight-to-video action flicks… The former governor of South Carolina, Haley now serves as the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.


Paul Wilbur Klipsch
Lou Henson
Alan Hale
Alvy Ray Smith
Rich Beem

Born in Elkhart, Ind., Klipsch’s family relocated to Texas after his father, whose father taught mechanical engineering at Purdue, died when Klipsch was 12. Klipsch attended NMSU and played in the school band before going to work for GE. He made great advances in speakers and the company that bears his name is closely tied to this city, with the Klipsch Music Center (formerly Deer Creek, Verizon) as well as celebrity endorsement deals with Andrew Luck and Roy Hibbert… A guard for the Aggies, Henson began his coaching career at a New Mexico high school before a lengthy and successful college coaching career. He led his alma mater from 1966-75 and 1997-2005, but it’s his time at Illinois for which Henson is most remembered for. Illinois won the 1984 Big Ten title and advanced to the 1989 Final Four under Henson’s guidance. He finished with 779 career wins and in 2014, was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame… Hale, who received his Ph.D. in astronomy from New Mexico State, co-discovered Comet Hale-Bopp with a telescope on his driveway. According to NASA, the comet was likely the most seen of the 20th century… Smith is the co-founder of Pixar, the animation studio that gave us “Toy Story” and “Up”… Beem conquered Tiger Woods to win the 2002 PGA Championship, but he hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since.

Who wins: You don’t need Dolph Lundgren’s brilliant mind to see this one is a rout. Clemson.



Charles Barkley
Lionel Richie
Octavia Spencer
Tim Cook
Jimmy Buffett

An 11-time NBA All-Star, Barkley was one of the best power forwards of the 1990s, despite only being 6-6. “The Round Mound of Rebound” and original Dream Team member has been one of the game’s more outspoken personalities, invading our TVs on TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” And who knows, he may run for governor of Alabama some day… Richie attended Auburn as a grad student briefly after earning his degree from Tuskegee. He joined the Commodores in 1968 and went solo in 1982. He is currently seen on E*Trade commercials trying to be coaxed into saying “All Night Long.” Buffett spent one year at Auburn – where it’s said he learned to play guitar – but transferred to Southern Miss. I’m not a Parrothead nor do I like cheeseburgers, but he’s got nine platinum albums and continues to sell out venues to middle-aged day-drinkers… Apple’s CEO, Cook graduated from Auburn with an industrial engineering degree before getting an MBA from Duke. An Alabama native, he joined Apple in 1998 and was COO under Steve Jobs, eventually taking over for Jobs in 2011… Spencer won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in “The Help” in 2011. She added Oscar nominations in each of the past two years for “Hidden Figures” and “The Shape of Water.”


Robert Mills
Matt Czuchry
Erick Avari
Thomas Gibson
Orlando Jones

Believe to be the first American-born architect. Mills designed the Washington Monument as well as the Department of Treasury building. You’d recognize Avari if you saw him. From “Encino Man” to “The Mummy” and “Independence Day” to “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Avari has been in a bunch of stuff. The 1998 Mr. College of Charleston pageant winner, Czuchry attended the school on a tennis scholarship. His most prominent acting roles include Logan in “Gilmore Girls” and Cary in “The Good Wife.” The Greg in the CBS sitcom “Dharma and Greg,” which had a five-season run, Gibson also starred in medical drama “Chicago Hope” and “Criminal Minds.” In 2010, he won an Entertainment Weekly online poll for Under-appreciated Entertainer of the Year for his role as Aaron Hotchner in “Criminal Minds.” Jones rose to prominence on MADtv and got a national 7 Up ad campaign. FX gave him his own late-night talk show (eight episodes). Jones’ notable roles include Clifford in football comedy “The Replacements,” Dr. Lee in “Drumline” and Harry Block in “Evolution.”

Who wins: Charleston’s group isn’t turrrrible, but I’m working on an Apple laptop and I’d like it to keep working. Auburn.



Jimmy Kimmel
Phil Mickelson
David Spade
Barry Bonds
Nick Nolte

Kimmel attended ASU for two years and was a noted caller into Phoenix radio shows before getting his own show. He went into television and went from co-hosting “Win Ben Stein’s” money to hosting the Oscars in the span of 20 years… Mickelson is ninth all-time in PGA Tour wins (43), has won three Masters and picked up PGA Championship and British Open titles as well. Six runner-up finishes in the U.S Open leave him just short of the career grand slam… Spade graduated with a degree in business and got his comedic start in university comedy sketch shows. The perfect match for Chris Farley, the duo was great together on “Saturday Night Live” and feature film “Tommy Boy.” He was good in NBC’s “Just Shoot Me” and CBS’ “Rule of Engagement” and he’ll forever be remembered as “Joe Dirt.” … Nolte attended Arizona State on a football scholarship, but eventually lettered at Eastern Arizona. He had a good run in the early 90s with “Blue Chips”, “Cape Fear” and “Another 48 Hours.” He’s acted plenty lately, but I’m not sure if he’s acting or if that’s just Nick Nolte now… Bonds smashed baseball’s most-hallowed record and still won’t sniff Cooperstown for what seems to be a while. While at ASU, he led the Sun Devils to the College World Series.


Taye Diggs
Megyn Kelly
Bob Costas
Vera Farmiga
Dick Clark

My wife would kill me if I didn’t put him here. Diggs received a bachelor’s of fine arts in musical theater from Syracuse and helped Stella get her groove back in his 1998 film debut. He starred as Dr. Bennett in “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” and currently features on Fox’s “Empire.” And he probably follows you on Twitter… Kelly earned a political science degree from Syracuse in 1992 before pursuing a law degree and a law career. She transitioned to TV and over time became one of the faces of Fox News. She has since made the switch to NBC and has a daily talk show after “Today.” … Clark started his radio career in 1945 after minoring in radio at Syracuse. His “American Bandstand” TV show was a cultural phenomenon, lasting from 1957 to 1987. He hosted the “Pyramid” game show, and I brought in many a new year with “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve.” … Farmiga was great in “The Departed” as Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon’s love interest, and equally impressive alongside George Clooney in “Up In The Air.” … For a school that churns out sports broadcasters left and right, Costas is in a class by himself. The nights he calls games on the MLB Network are always a treat.

Who wins: Not even David Spade could hold the Sun Devils back. Arizona State.



Bob Schieffer
Chris Klein
Rod Roddy
Reverend Timothy Lovejoy
Sandra Brown

A national politics reporter/anchor for CBS, Schieffer had a near 25-year run on “60 Minutes” and was moderator of “Face the Nation” from 1991-2015… Klein will always be known for his role as Chris “Oz” Ostreicher from “American Pie.” He’s been other movies, too. Like “American Pie 2” and “American Reunion.” … “Come on down! You’re the next contestant on the “Price is Right!” Roddy was the show’s announcer from 1986 until his death in 2003. He also announced the classic game show “Press Your Luck.” No whammy, no whammy… Lovejoy is minister at The First Church of Springfield on “The Simpsons” and attended TCU before moving to Springfield. Don’t believe me? Google it… Brown has written more than 70 romance novels, including 50 New York Times best-sellers, though I must admit, I missed “Tempest in Eden” and “Where There’s Smoke.”

Who wins: Kimmel preaches more these days than Lovejoy. Arizona State.



Magic Johnson
James Caan
Tom Sizemore
Robert Klark Graham
Jackie Martling

A 12-time NBA All-Star, five-time NBA champion and three-time MVP, Johnson was the premier attraction for the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s. His rivalry with Larry Bird, which began in college and continued throughout their pro careers, became so legendary it got the Broadway treatment… Nominated for an Oscar for both his role as Brian Piccolo in “Brian’s Song” and Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather”, Caan didn’t finish his schooling at MSU, but after being tortured by Kathy Bates in “Misery”, we’ll offer some leeway. An actor who peaked in the late 90s with roles in “Saving Private Ryan”, “Heat” and “Natural Born Killers”, Sizemore has struggled with substance abuse and the law in recent years and appeared on VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab”… Graham made a fortune by developing shatterproof plastic eyeglass lenses and founded a sperm bank for geniuses. The initial idea was to only accept donations from Nobel laureates, but there are only so many of those, so any genius will do. It lasted from 1980-99 with 218 children created via its process. Martling, aka Jackie the Joke Man, graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering, but pursued singing instead. He found out he was a better comedian than musician and became a fixture and head writer on Howard Stern’s radio show from 1983-2001.


Alan Stillman
Edward Herrmann
Christy Mathewson
Les Moonves
Gbenga Akinnagbe

Stillman opened the first T.G.I.Friday’s restaurant in New York in 1965 to meet girls. What started as one of NYC’s first singles bar turned into a chain of family -friendly restaurants with decent potato skins. Known for his role as Lorelai’s grandfather Richard Gilmore in “Gilmore Girls,” Hermmann also played Richard Rich alongside Macaulay Culkin in “Richie Rich.” Akinnagbe wrestled at Bucknell before playing Marlo’s deadly right-hand man Chris Partlow in HBO’s “The Wire.” And as you all know, “The Wire” trumps all. Moonves is the CEO and Chairman of the Board for CBS Corporation and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2013… One of the first five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Mathewson is considered one of the best pitchers in the history of the game. He was Bucknell class president before going on to a storied pro career with the New York Giants (1900-16). He is just one of two pitchers that rank in the top 10 for career ERA (2.13) and wins (373).

Who wins: Any genius could tell you, Michigan State.



Christiane Amanpour
Lamar Odom
Michael Flynn
J.T. Walsh
Tony Horton

Amanpour graduated summa cum laude with a degree in journalism in 1983 and was hired on CNN’s foreign desk that same year. She now has her own news show, worked on “60 Minutes” for a decade and is an important international voice for CNN… A highly-decorated general turned disgraced Trump National Security Advisor, Flynn was fired by the White House and pleaded guilty to a felony count of lying to the FBI… Never really a leading man, Walsh was a great character actor. You know him from his roles as Lt. Col. Markinson in “A Few Good Men” and “Happy Kuykendall in “Blue Chips.” … After a controversial beginning to his college career at UNLV, Odom transferred to Rhode Island and led the Rams to the Atlantic 10 title in 1999 – his only season at Rhode Island. He was the fourth overall pick in the ’99 draft by the Clippers and spent 14 seasons in the NBA, winning titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010. He’s battled substance abuse and had a pretty public divorce with Khloe Kardashian, with whom he had reality TV show with, “Khloe & Lamar.” … The creator of workout craze P90X, Horton gained an appreciation for fitness at a weightlifting class while at URI. He moved to California to try his hand at comedy, which is what it would look like if tried P90X.


Olivia Munn
Brian Bosworth
Ed Harris
Larry Merchant
Mickey Mantle

Munn should have felt at home in her role in HBO’s “Newsroom” having earned a journalism degree from Oklahoma. She gained fame on “Attack of the Show!” and then spit in the eyes of those nerds who watched that show by dating star jock Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers and Munn broke up and he’s currently dating Danica Patrick… A two-time All-American and Dick Butkus Award winner, “The Boz” was a phenomenon in the mid-80s, and thorn in the NCAA’s side. He entered the NFL via the supplemental draft and was given the league’s biggest rookie contract in history, 10 years for $11 million. He played just parts of three seasons in the pros and is considered among the biggest busts in draft history… A veteran actor, Harris is 67 — and my wife thinks he’s “super sexy.” I don’t know about all of that, but he was pretty darn good in “The Rock”, “Apollo 13” and “The Truman Show”… Now seen as the cantankerous, overly… wait for it… still waiting… deliberate boxing analyst for HBO, Merchant is still one of the greatest boxing broadcasters of all-time, and he wasn’t afraid to mix it up in his post-fight, in-ring interviews… A native of Spavinaw, Okla., the state school offered Mantle a football scholarship. He’s widely considered one of the greatest baseball players in baseball, was named an All-Star 20 times and won seven World Series titles with the Yankees. 

Who wins: Sorry, Michael Flynn, but you could say the Sooners have this one… Locked up. Oklahoma.

DUKE (2) VS. IONA (15)


Adam Silver
Ken Jeong
Stephen Miller
Granville Semmes
Melinda Gates

Silver, David Stern’s successor, as NBA commissioner, is off to a good start. In 2015, he was one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People and one of Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders. And he’s bringing the All-Star Game to Indy, so he’s alright … … Jeong got his undergrad degree from Duke before getting an M.D. from North Carolina. You know him from NBC’s “Community” and as Leslie Chow in “The Hangover” trilogy… Miller has shot to prominence as Donald Trump’s senior advisor and just might outlast everyone in the administration. Miller was a key voice in the conservative movement on Duke’s campus and worked on political campaigns before joining up with Jeff Sessions to push a new populism movement, which culminated with Trump’s election… Gates is in charge of giving away Bill Gates’ money. The wife of the Microsoft billionaire is a noted philanthropist through her work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation… The founder of 1-800-FLOWERS, Semmes has made it simple for guys on-the-go, or those that forgot to stop on the way home, a chance to make it all OK.


Don McLean
Tommy Dreamer
Bud Cort
John Gilchrist
Richie Guerin

After leaving Villanova, McLean returned to New York and attended night school at Iona, earning a degree in business administration. He’s best known for the classic song “American Pie,” which spent four weeks at No. 1 in 1972.  A Marine Corps reservist, Guerin scored 1,375 career points for the Gaels’ basketball team. After two years of active duty, he joined the New York Knicks and became a sensation. He led the Knicks in assists five straight seasons and led the team in scoring three times. A six-time All-Star, he won NBA Coach of the Year in 1968 after leading the St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks to a ninth straight playoff appearance. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. Cort starred as Harold in the 1971 dark comedy “Harold and Maude.” Not a commercial success, the movie grew a cult following and is ranked among the top 50 funniest movies by the American Film Institute. He also featured in “MASH” – the movie not TV series. Dreamer, aka Thomas James Laughlin, is a pro wrestler, who is best known for his time in the ECW but also spent time in the WWE (2001-10, 2015). He was WWE Raw Hardcore Champion for 14 matches before losing the title in a unification bout with Rob Van Dam for the Intercontinental Championship in 2002 at Madison Square Garden. Gilchrist, or as we know him Little Mikey from the Life cereal commercials. “He likes it!”

Who wins: “American Pie?” Not enough. Stephen Miller wants American everything. Duke.

► Second round

Penn vs. N.C. State: Decided by a  piano duel between John Legend and John Tesh. Penn.

Clemson vs. Auburn: I still use an iPod Classic. Auburn.

Arizona State vs. Michigan State: Nolte and Caan cage match, who you taking? Arizona State.

Oklahoma vs. Duke: Sooners beat up the Blue Devils and steal their “Milk Money.” Oklahoma.

► Sweet 16

Penn vs. Auburn: Lionel Richie works “All Night Long.” Donald Trump is in bed by 7 p.m. Auburn.

Arizona State vs. Oklahoma: Mickey Mantle didn’t need steroids. Oklahoma.

► Elite Eight

Oklahoma vs. Auburn: As far as NASA-themed movies go, Apollo 13 > Hidden Figures. But it’s close. Oklahoma.




Herman Boone
Kim Coles
Harold Hunter
Sam Jones
Little Brother

A comedian/actress, Coles is best known for her role as Synclaire on “Living Single” in the mid-90s and featured in Fox’s sketch comedy show “In Living Color.”.., The inspiration for “Remember the Titans,” Boone is played by Denzel Washington as T.C. Williams’ football coach of a newly integrated team. He led the undefeated Titans to a Virginia state title in 1971. In 1950, Hunter led NCC to the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament championship and was the first African-American player to sign an NBA contract when he signed with the Washington Capitals. He was cut in training camp and never played in the NBA, but went on to coach at Tennessee State for nine seasons and was the first black coach to lead the U.S. Olympic team in 1968… Jones’ 10 NBA titles are the second-most by any player (only former Boston teammate Bill Russell has more, 11). A five-time All-Star, Jones was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and his No. 24 is retired by the Celtics… Little Brother was a rap group from 2001-10 made up of three NCC students (Phonte, Rapper Big Pooh and 9th Wonder). They put out four albums and six mix tapes, and I’ve never heard of them until this project.


Michael Strahan
Yolanda Adams
Jim Hines
Barbara Jordan
Robert Taylor

A Hall of Fame inductee in 2014, Strahan is fifth on the NFL’s all-time sack list (141.5) and still owns the single-season record with 22.5, though Kansas City’s Justin Houston flirted with it last year, finishing with 22.0. Strahan played his entire career with the Giants and has stayed in the bright lights of New York as Kelly Ripa’s co-host and Regis Philbin’s replacement on “Live! with Kelly and Michael”… Named the No. 1 gospel singer of the decade for the 2000s by Billboard, Adams has sold more than 8 million records worldwide and won four Grammys… Hines won two gold medals at the 1968 Summer Olympics, setting world records in the 100 meters and well as the 4×100 relay team. With his record time of 9.95, Hines became the first sprinter to officially break the 10-second barrier, a record he held for 15 years. The Miami Dolphins hoped his track speed would translate to the NFL. It didn’t. He caught just two career passes and is ranked by Deadspin as the 10th worst NFL player of all-time… A trailblazing politician, Jordan was the first black female member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She was also the first black woman keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention, giving a speech researchers rank as the fifth-best of the 20th century, behind Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream”, JFK and FDR’s inauguration addresses and FDR’s “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”… Taylor won gold at the 1972 Munich Olympics in the 4×100 meter relay and captured silver in the 100m, a race remembered for two Americans missing their heat start times because of a communication error, while Taylor made it just in time. “These sprinters missed the start-line in their heats! We’ve handed the 100 to the Russian!” Howard Cosell exclaimed at the time.

Who wins: I’ve at least heard of Michael Strahan. Texas Southern.



John Boehner
David West
Jim Bunning
Frank Robinson
Robert Romanus

A two-time All-Star in New Orleans, West was a veteran leader for the Pacers after joining as a free agent. He said he wasn’t into chasing rings, but he’s played on the Spurs and Warriors since leading Indiana… The former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Boehner was one of President Barack Obama’s chief adversaries, but softened later in his tenure… Joining Boehner in Congress is former MLB baseball pitcher turned politician Bunning. A nine-time All-Star, Bunning ranked second in career strikeouts when he retired and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996. A Republican congressman, Bunning served as Kentucky’s senator from 1999-2011 after a 12-year run n the House of Representatives… Another member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Robinson starred with the Cincinnati Reds from 1956-65 and attended Xavier during the offseason in the 50s. He was a 14-time All-Star, claimed both the AL and NL MVPs during his career and won the 1966 Triple Crown. In 1975, Cleveland named him a player-manager, making him the first black manager in Major League Baseball… Romanus is known for his role as ticket scalper Mike Damone in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Who wins: I’m not really into upsetting Mr. West. Xavier.



Brad Pitt
Jon Hamm
Sheryl Crow
Tom Berenger
Chris Cooper

This squad certainly isn’t hurting in the male looks department. “That’s the certainly the best-looking start,” says my wife, a noticeable twinkle in her eye as I read off the list. Favorite Pitt roles: “Cool World,” “Seven,” “Sleepers,” “Fight Club,” “Snatch” and “Moneyball.” … Hamm gained fame as Don Draper in AMC’s drama “Mad Men.” He featured most recently in last year’s “Baby Driver.” … A platinum-selling artist, Crow is best known for her hits “If It Makes You Happy” and “All I Wanna Do.” She has won nine Grammy Awards and has also acted her fair share… Berenger has played some pretty bad ass dudes in his acting career, which began after graduating from Mizzou in 1971. Jake Taylor in “Major League.” James Longstreet in “Gettysburg.” Jonathan Shale in “The Substitute.” And Sergeant Barnes in “Platoon.” … Cooper was chillingly good in “American Beauty” and won an Oscar for best supporting actor for “Adaptation” in 2002. He played Robert Hansen in “Breach” and Norman Osborn in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”  


Burt Reynolds
Hunter S. Thompson
Richard Simmons
Jim Morrison
Paul Gleason

Reynolds is known for roles in 1970s classics like “Smoky and the Bandit,” “The Longest Yard” and “Deliverance.” I grew up a fan of “Cannonball Run” and he was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting role in “Boogie Nights.”…  The “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” author took night classes at FSU while in the U.S. Air Force at Eglin Air Force Base… Morrison attended in 1962 and was arrested for pulling a drink prank after a football game. The iconic Doors frontman died in Paris just 27 years old… Simmons has been having folks “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” for decades. The shorts, we can do without… Gleason oversaw weekend detention in “The Breakfast Club” as assistant principal Richard Vernon. He also starred in two of my 80s favorites “Die Hard” and “Trading Places.” 

Who wins: It’s a close matchup, but Pitt and Hamm are just too darn dreamy. Missouri.



Bob Knight
Patricia Heaton
Jesse Owens
R.L. Stine
Jack Nicklaus

While Knight became an icon at Indiana, it all started at Ohio State, where he played point guard from 1959-62. The General won three national titles at IU and finished his coaching career with a 902-371 record (.709)… Arguably the greatest track athlete of all-time, Owens owned the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, basically giving Adolph Hitler the finger the whole time. Owens won four gold medals (100m, 200m, long jump, 4×100 relay) and became an international superstar… If you read books in elementary and middle school, you probably know who R.L. Stine is. He’s authored more than 100 books but is known for his “Goosebumps” and “Fear Street” series. “Night of the Living Dummy” was a guaranteed nightmare… Heaton gained prominence for her role as Ray Ramono’s wife in “Everybody Loves Raymond” and stars in ABC’s “The Middle”, which is set in Indiana. Nicklaus may be the greatest golfer of all-time. The Golden Bear has a record 18 career majors, which seems safe for now. His 73 tour victories are third-most all-time, behind only Sam Snead and Tiger Woods.


Adam Vinatieri
Matt Kryger
Jim Langer
Stephen Foster Briggs
Theodore Schultz

The NFL’s oldest player, Vinatieri just re-signed with the Colts this offseason and he continues his chase of history. He is 57 points behind Morten Andersen on the all-time scoring list and should break the record if he stays healthy in 2018. This will be the 45-year-old’s 23rd NFL season and 13th in Indianapolis. He spent a decade in New England winning three Super Bowl titles with the Patriots, before signing with the Colts in free agency after the 2005 season. His four Super Bowl titles are the second-most ever, behind only Charles Haley and Tom Brady, who each won five. One of the best sports photographers in the country, Kryger joined IndyStar 20 years ago. An award-winning photographer, he’s shot Super Bowls, Olympics, Final Fours and this author’s wedding. He’s also shooting about .350 percent with his jokes… Langer ranks among the top centers to ever play pro football. He played for the Dolphins and Vikings and was first team All-Pro four years in a row (1974-77). He was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1987 and the Jim Langer Award is given to the top lineman in Division II each year… A product of Watertown, S.D., Briggs built automotive engines and co-founded gasoline-engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton, which sells engines in more than 100 countries worldwide. Schultz won a Nobel Prize in 1979 for analyzing the role agriculture plays within the economy. He was just the second South Dakotan to win a Nobel Prize (Ernest Lawrence in physics, 1939). A SDSU residence hall for ag students is named after Schultz.

Who wins: I had to resort to IndyStar staffers… Ohio State.



Bing Crosby
John Stockton
Jim Wickwire
Tony Canadeo
Ray Flaherty

An American icon, Crosby was the nation’s premier signing and acting star for 20 years (1934-54) and in the mid-1940s, the American public declared him the “most admired man alive” — ahead of the Pope. How big was Crosby? He has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame… The NBA’s all-time assists and steals leader, Stockton was a 10-time All-Star, member of the 1992 U.S. Dream Team and is in the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame… In 1978, Wickwire became the first American to reach the summit of K2, the world’s second-largest, and perhaps most dangerous mountain… Gonzaga dropped its football program in 1941, but still managed to produce two Pro Football Hall of Famers in Canaedo and Flaherty. A running back and defensive back, Canaedo played his entire career with the Packers, who retired his No. 3. Flaherty, a three-time NFL champion (once as a player and twice as a coach), had his number retired by the Giants (No. 1) and is credited with inventing the screen pass in 1937.


Emmylou Harris
Gerald Austin
Chris Chalk
Alejandro Moreno

A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Harris has 14 Grammy wins under her belt. She dropped out of UNCG and moved to Greenwich Village and the folk music scene. In 1987, she, along with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt released a country album “Trio.” It sold more than 4 million copies and won two Grammys… Samwell became an internet celebrity with his “What What (In The Butt)” video. The song was featured in a “South Park” episode and he appeared on Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0” to recreate the song as a duet with Queens of the Stone Age lead singer Josh Homme… Austin, who has a doctorate from UNCG, was an NFL referee from 1982 to 2007 and has appeared on ESPN to interpret rules during NFL broadcasts… Chalk is best known for his roles as Gary Cooper in HBO’s drama “Newsroom” and Tom Walker in Showtime’s drama “Homeland.” He’s also appeared in “Justified”, “Gotham” and “12 Years A Slave.” … The Venezuelan Moreno played soccer for UNCG and went on to have a successful Major League Soccer career, scoring 52 goals in 272 career games (2002-12). He’s currently an analyst for ESPN. 

Who wins: It’s not exactly reaching the mountain top, but the Bulldogs escape. Gonzaga.



Jim Parsons
Dennis Quaid
Lil’ Wayne
Kenny Rogers
Jim Nantz

Parsons has been playing theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper in CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” since 2007 and has been the show’s breakout star. His character is so popular, CBS created a spinoff called “Young Sheldon” that commercials tell me people watch… Quaid played Mike in “Breaking Away,” so he naturally earns a place on this list. He’s also starred in Disney’s “The Rookie” based on teacher-turned-pitcher Jim Morris and played Sam Houston in “The Alamo.” He was married to Meg Ryan, but she’s dating an Indiana feller now… A high school dropout, Lil’ Wayne enrolled in Houston after getting his GED in 2005. He dropped out later that year because of schedule conflicts. In 2012, Lil’ Wayne passed Elvis as the male with the most Billboard Hot 100 hits, with 109 songs. And I can’t name one of them… Rogers may be a country music icon, but I know him for same damn fine rotisserie chicken… Nantz played on the Cougars’ golf team and majored in broadcasting. He joined CBS in 1985 and has become the face of the network’s sports coverage, calling The Masters and the Final Four.


Carl Weathers
Marshall Faulk
Tony Gwynn
Raquel Welch
Cleavon Little

The man was in “Happy Gilmore” and “Predator” what more range do you need? Weathers, who played LB for the Aztecs and briefly for the Oakland Raiders, will forever be remembered for his role as nemesis-turned-trusted ally Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” films. I’ll still never forgive Ivan Drago… Faulk spent the first five seasons of his Hall of Fame career in Indianapolis, but a contract dispute led to a trade to St. Louis, where he was the star attraction in the Greatest Show on Turf. He posted four straight seasons with 2,000 total yards and was named to seven Pro Bowls… One of the purest hitters of all-time, Gwynn played both baseball and basketball at SDSU. He stayed in San Diego with the Padres and won eight batting titles in his 20-year Major League Baseball career… A 60s sex symbol, Welch is the best looking 74-year old around… After graduating from San Diego State, Little received a scholarship to Juilliard and had a nearly 30-year acting career. But let’s be serious, Little is known for just one role: ALF. Kidding of course. Little made his mark as Sheriff Bart in “Blazing Saddles”, one of the funniest films of all-time.

Who wins: You guys don’t understand how good Kenny Rogers’ chicken was… Houston.



James Earl Jones
Tom Brady
David Alan Grier
Lucy Liu

Jones attended Michigan with hopes of becoming a doctor, but soon found theater more interesting. He also served in the school’s ROTC and served in the army during the Korean War. The voice of Mustapha, Darth Vader and CNN, Jones’ booming voice is unmistakable… Brady wears No. 12… A Detroit-born actor/comedian, Grier rose to prominence for his work on Fox’s sketch comedy show “Living Color.” He also appeared in “Boomerang,” “Blankman” and “Jumanji.” … One of “Charlie’s Angels” in the 2000 remake, Liu earned a bachelor’s degree in Asian languages and cultures. She starred in “Kill Bill Vol. I” and currently plays Joan Watson on CBS’ latest take on Sherlock Holmes in “Elementary.” …Madonna attended Michigan on a dance scholarship but dropped out and moved to New York. She then went on to become, well, Madonna. 


J.K. Simmons
Caroll O’Connor
Jeff Ament
Colin Meloy
Colt Anderson

Ament is a founding member of Pearl Jam and also featured in Temple Of the Dog. He, along with Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, were elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year… Simmons rose to prominence after his role as Vernon on HBO’s prison series “Oz.” He was fantastic in roles in “Whiplash” and “Thank You For Smoking.” You also know him from the Farmers Insurance commercials… O’Connor is known for his role as cantankerous Archie Bunker in “All in the Family.” O’Connor originally attended Wake Forest before joining the Merchant Marines during World War II. After the war, he enrolled at Montana and became editor of the school newspaper… A Montana native, Anderson will forever be known for one play with the Indianapolis Colts. You know the one. The ill-fated fake-punt-send-everyone-away-from-the-snapper-and-ball-and-still-snap-it-anyway play… Helena, Mont.-born, Meloy is the frontman for alternative rock band The Decemberists.



Rip Torn
Lyle Lovett
Rick Perry
Johnny Manziel
PC Principal

Torn is perhaps best known for his role as Artie on “The Larry Sanders Show,” which earned him six Emmy nominations. He’s appeared in a number of comedies, including as Zed in “Men In Black” and Patches O’Houlihan in “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.” … A fixture on the country music scene, Lovett has won four Grammy Awards, but really he’s remembered for shockingly marrying Julia Roberts in 1993 in Marion, Ind. of all places. They divorced less than two years of marriage, but imagine all the songs that came from it… Texas’ governor after George W. Bush, Perry held the post from 2000-15, the longest tenure of any Texas governor. He had an ill-fated run for president in 2012 and then went on “Dancing With The Stars.” He’s currently the U.S. Secretary of Energy in Donald Trump’s cabinet… The charismatic, yet controversial Manziel starred for two seasons under center for the Aggies, becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012. But then the Browns drafted him in the first round in 2014, and it’s pretty much been downhill from there. Manziel has struggled with substance abuse, gone to rehab and was close to playing in the Canadian Football League before talks broke off. He recently said he’d play for free if given the chance to play again in the NFL… Currently the principal at South Park Elementary school, PC Principal was supposed to be killed off after his first “South Park” episode, but the show’s creators liked him so much, they kept him. His role is vigorously defend political correctness, which you can guess has its moments on “South Park.” 


Billy Donovan
Janeane Garofalo
Peter Farrelly
Doris Burke
Austin Croshere

A point guard on the Friars’ 1987 Final Four team under Rick Pitino, Billy the Kid was among the college game’s 3-point pioneers. Donovan followed Pitino into coaching and served on his mentor’s Kentucky staff for six seasons. Florida’s head coach since 1996, Donovan won back-to-back national titles (2006-07)… Garofalo studied history at Providence before going into comedy and has had memorable roles in “Wet Hot American Summer” and “Reality Bites”… It’s crazy to think a small Catholic college in tiny Rhode Island would cultivate the mind of the man behind “Dumb and Dumber”, “There’s Something About Mary” and “Kingpin”, but that’s exactly what happened. Farrelly, who along with his brother, Bobby, created some of the raunchiest, mainstream comedies of the 90s… The Big East’s assists leader her senior season, Burke often draws the ire of misogynistic basketball fans, but she does great work for ESPN… Croshere spent nine years with the Pacers after a successful college career at Providence. He was integral in the Pacers’ run to the 2000 NBA Finals and was rewarded handsomely. Indiana ended up paying Croshere more than $40 million to start 72 games over the next six seasons before he was traded to Dallas. After retiring, Croshere has worked on Pacers’ radio and TV broadcasts.

Who wins: By default, Providence.



Michael Jordan
Lewis Black
Dan Cortese
James K. Polk
Andy Griffith

The greatest basketball player of all-time, Jordan finally cracked the billionaire’s club this year. A principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets, His Airness’ greatest contribution might have been “Space Jam”… Griffith went to Chapel Hill looking to become a preacher, but came out with a music degree and desire for the stage and camera. He’s most known for the TV show bearing his name, in which he starred as Mayberry sheriff Andy Taylor… A comedian and social critic, Black came to prominence with appearances on “The Daily Show” with his intelligently crafted rage… The 11th President of the United States, Polk was called “easily our least-known consequential president” by Newsweek. He added Texas, California and the Southwest during the Mexican-American War and took Oregon from Great Britain. He served only one term and died three months after leaving office… Cortese will forever by synonymous with MTV’s “Rock N’ Jock,” which they really need to bring back. Cortese was a walk-on backup QB at UNC, but never played a snap. 


Pat Boone
Jim Jinkins
Savannah Chrisley
Dustin Lynch
Marty Roe

Boone has sold more than 45 million albums worldwide, and trailed only Elvis Presley for albums sold in the 1950s. He appeared in a dozen films and hosted his own variety show… Jinkins created the popular Nickelodeon cartoon “Doug,” which had a seven-season run and was turned into a movie. Doug Funnie, Skeeter, Patti Mayonnaise and Beebe, you remember the whole gang. Chrisley is the beauty pageant daughter of Todd and Julie in the USA Network reality series “Chrisley Knows Best,” which has more than 90 episodes. Lynch went to Lipscomb to study biology and chemistry, but also to be close to Nashville’s country music scene. He hit No. 1 on the country chart with his debut album and has released two more since. He’s had five singles hit No. 1 on Country Airplay, including last year’s “Small Town Boy.” Roe is lead vocals and rhythm guitar for Christian country group Diamond Rio, which has three platinum albums and won Vocal Group of the Year four times in the 1990s.

Who wins: Pat Boone ain’t guarding Jordan. North Carolina.

► Second round

Xavier vs. Missouri: No substitute for star power. Missouri in a walk.

Ohio State vs. Gonzaga: Shorter shorts: Jesse Owens or John Stockton? Ohio State.

Houston vs. Michigan: Maybe if I knew more Lil Wayne songs. Then again, maybe if I didn’t… Michigan.

Providence vs. North Carolina: Cortese hits a 20-point shot at the buzzer to win. Providence.

► Sweet 16

Missouri vs. Ohio State: “Mad Men” vs. a mad man. Missouri.

Michigan vs. Providence: Tom Terrific shows up in crunch time. Michigan.

► Elite Eight

Missouri vs. Michigan: This where Madonna comes in handy. Michigan.


Michigan vs. Miami: Y’all don’t understand my love for “Rocky IV.” Miami.

UCLA vs. Oklahoma: This is back-to-back Final Four trips for the Sooners in our alumni bracket. Such is the power of Ed Harris and Olivia Munn, but Ben Stiller and James Franco have more box-office appeal. UCLA.


Miami vs. UCLA: The Rock, er Dwayne Johnson, is one of Hollywood’s more bankable stars and Sylvester Stallone and Ray Liotta provide the backbone for a Hurricanes’ national title. Miami.


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